Definition

metropolitan area network (MAN)

A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that interconnects users with computer resources in a geographic area or region larger than that covered by even a large local area network (LAN) but smaller than the area covered by a wide area network (WAN). The term is applied to the interconnection of networks in a city into a single larger network (which may then also offer efficient connection to a wide area network). It is also used to mean the interconnection of several local area networks by bridging them with backbone lines. The latter usage is also sometimes referred to as a campus network.

Examples of metropolitan area networks of various sizes can be found in the metropolitan areas of London, England; Lodz, Poland; and Geneva, Switzerland. Large universities also sometimes use the term to describe their networks. A recent trend is the installation of wireless MANs.

Contributor(s): Patrick McMurrich
This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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